3 June 2014
South Africa’s men and women’s national hockey teams head into their second round of games at the Hockey World Cup in The Hague on Tuesday after both going down in their opening matches on Sunday.
The men fell 4-0 to Germany, the winners of the past two Olympic Games, while the women lost 4-1 to Argentina, the defending World Cup champions. Both the Germans and Argentinians are ranked second in the world rankings.
Goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse was the standout performer for the South African men against Germany, pulling off a string of fine saves.
At the other end of the field, however, coach Fabian Gregory felt his forwards did not make the most of the opportunities they created, especially in the first half.
Germany’s head coach Markus Weise was, nonetheless, complimentary of South Africa’s performance, saying he didn’t feel comfortable until his team moved into a 3- 0 lead.
South Africa next face New Zealand, 2-1 winners over South Korea in a roller- coaster first outing in which the Asians missed a penalty stroke, on Tuesday. The Black Sticks are ranked sixth in the world, while South Africa, the African champions, are ranked twelfth.
The South African men are in Pool B with Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and Argentina.
The national women’s team, African champions too and ranked eleventh in the world, face Germany, the world number six, on Tuesday.
Giles Bonnet’s charges were found wanting in their defence of penalty corners against Argentina, but they showed admirable fighting spirit against the experienced South Americans.
Penalty corner goals
Led by Luciana Aymar, the eight-time FIH (International Hockey Federation) Player of the Year, the defending champions led 2-0 at the break, with both goals coming from penalty corner shots by Carla Rebecchi.
They added a third goal early in the second half from another short corner, with Noel Barrionueva netting after a variation.
Rebecchi completed her hat-trick just before the hour, but only two minutes later South Africa found a reply.
South African goal
After a flowing counter-attack, Tarryn Bright fired a superb deflection across the goalkeeper and into the corner of the Argentinian goal to make the final score 4-1.
The Investec South African women’s group, Pool B, includes Argentina, the United States, China, Germany and England.